HR “Bum” Bright was a local Dallas businessman who, at the heighth of his career, owned a bank, an oil company and the Dallas Cowboys. By 1990, he was one of the richest men in the state of Texas. Then the oil crunch hit, the real estate market crumbled, savings and loans needed to be rescued by the government and the Dallas Cowboys experienced a lull with the firing of legendary coach Tom Landry.
The Catalyst Group in Chicago, a division of KPMG, conducted a pilot project for Mountain Bell involving Catalyst’s re-engineering tools ReACT, PathVU and Retrofit to transform an aging subsystem from Assembler (ALC) to COBOL.
Transamerica Real Estate Tax, a division of Transamerica Corporation, moved to Dallas from California in the mid 1990s and occupied several floors in the old Renaissance Tower (with the X on it) which also held the headquarter office of Blockbuster video. Firstamerica Bank was a spin-off of Transamerica due to the Bank Holding Company Act of the 1950s.
By late summer of 1986, the Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. engagement with the City of Dallas Water Utilities was in full swing. I was brought in due to my ADR Datacom, system development and financial background, though I was a little reluctant to leave the Annuity Board, compensation being the motivating factor. The project titled Customer Information, Accounting, Billing System (CIABS) was not a ground-up development but an enhancement to natural gas system which was purchased from the state of Minnesota.
I was involved with 2 projects at SMU, ten years apart. The first, beginning in 1989, was the integration of existing student records systems with newly acquired Dunn & Bradstreet financial software. Since the new software was developed accessing a database differing from the ADR Datacom DB that was already in place in the legacy systems, my job was to “fool” the i/o modules into believing they were accessing their own native databases. This involved accessing multiple files and setting the completion codes to satisfy the calling software.
My first position after graduation from college, Information Retrieval Methods (IRM) near Farmers Branch in northwest Dallas, hired me as an entry-level programmer in October of 1983. IRM was a marketing software service company with clients including Nabisco and ALCOA, but their main client was Philip Morris with a custom system DATAVEND, tailored specifically for the tobacco vendor.